2020 talent expectations leave HR feeling ‘overcommitted’

11, February

Kathryn Moody’s article for Hr Dive The top HR goal for 2020 is helping drive organizations’ performance and ...

Kathryn Moody’s article for Hr Dive

The top HR goal for 2020 is helping drive organizations’ performance and growth, while steering the digital transformation — but HR is struggling with feeling “overcommitted” under rising expectations, according to The Hackett Group’s annual Key Issues Study. Respondents included leaders in HR, finance, information technology and procurement, according to a press release shared with HR Dive.

While talent management and development, including addressing the skills gap, are top HR priorities in 2020, these sectors are also “critical development areas” for HR departments, meaning improvements may be required, Hackett said.

The top HR skills respondents identified included: analytics and modeling, data savviness, service design, technology savviness  and business acumen. But HR is still widely struggling with process complexity, HR staff deficiencies, inadequate funding and an organization that may be resistant to change. “With so many critical development areas, and the ongoing demand that they do more with less, HR is simply spread too thin,” Tony DiRomualdo, Hackett senior research director, said in a statement. “It’s critical that HR leaders prioritize and make sure they’re not directing resources at too many things. Otherwise, it will be difficult for them to move the needle.”

Talent is at the center of a number of organizational challenges in 2020, not least of which is the pressure to ensure a strong leadership base. A third of HR professionals said they struggled with developing future leaders for their organizations, a recent Gartner study found. With the level of departures — both voluntary and involuntary — that businesses are seeing across the organization, including CEOs and C-suite members, HR must have a talent pipeline that is robust enough to account for sudden losses, which may include allowing lateral moves and letting employees explore their skill curiosities outside their main job.

More broadly, the competition for talent is keeping training, including upskilling and reskilling, on HR’s list of priorities this year. In fact, a recent Randstad Sourceright study showed that upskilling will be necessary for organizations to survive the digital disruption, which The Hackett Group respondents referenced in HR’s technology challenges for 2020.

The strategic risks of the talent shortage aren’t lost on CEOs either; according to a study by The Conference Board, talent attraction and retention, along with a possible recession, are company heads’ top concerns in 2020. With a serious recognition of the talent shortage, CEOs may be better positioned to give HR leaders the support and resources needed to build and maintain a workplace that’s future-ready.